This course aims to introduce students to understanding Asia in the contemporary world via six core themes that will be addressed through a combination of lectures and related films. Each theme will be handled across one two-week module, traversing both Northeast and Southeast Asia in terms of geographical focus. One of the two weeks of each module will involve the film screening and a question and answer session after the screening. The other week will be allocated to a lecture that presents key concepts, provides context, introduces the main debates, and links all of these to the respective film.. Tutorials will be reserved for close readings of assigned texts. The themes to be covered are as follows: 1) Authoritarianism and Democracy; 2) Culture and Relationships; 3) Nationalism and Militarism; 4) Affluence and Inequality; 5) Religion and Cultural Beliefs; and 6) Ideology and Social Change. An indicative list of matching films for each theme is included in the course outline below. Although the modules will remain the same, films might change from semester to semester.
Taught by faculty in the Department of Asian and International Studies, Asia in the World: A Critical Appreciation Through Film draws on a variety of disciplinary traditions and adopts a pedagogical strategy that emphasizes exploration and discovery through various modes of learning and critical inquiry, and in particular via reading ‘film languages’ of both documentaries and feature films. The course also serves to demonstrate the value and relevance of social scientific and humanistic study and research in understanding Asia, and the world more broadly. To provide consistency and guidance, the course leader will be present in all sessions and will assist in managing course materials and assessments. The course covers various aspects of Asian cultures and societies and will be of interest and value to all CLASS students.